Raytheon Certifies Heavyweight King Air 350
Raytheon Aircraft received Part 23 commuter category certification of a King Air 350, a milestone in the company’s plan eventually to offer a Model 350ER special-mission version of the twin turboprop. This new aircraft has been modified with a heftier landing gear, as well as several other airframe mods, permitting it to operate at an mtow of 16,500 pounds, 1,500 pounds more than that of a standard 350. The next step is to complete the development and certification of nacelle fuel tanks. When added to a heavyweight 350, the tanks will allow the airplane to fly for 100 nm, perform a low-altitude surveillance mission for up to eight hours and then fly back with more than 45 minutes of fuel remaining. Certification of the King Air 350ER is slated for next summer. A spokesperson told AIN that the company is “currently evaluating” whether to offer the improvements as separately available options on new aircraft, as well as for retrofit.